DAMAC on utilising technology, expanding its footprint, and launching its first water-inspired neighbourhood

Originally published on Nov 01, 2022 | Construction Week

With a total of seven projects launched this year, it is no secret that DAMAC Properties is growing its project pipeline at an incredible speed.

From luxury residentials and mixed-used communities to commercial destinations, the developer is actively revolutionising the future of real estate in the UAE, and it is doing so with expansion in mind.

During an exclusive interview with Construction Week Middle East, Mohammed Tahaineh, General Manager of Projects at DAMAC revealed the company’s growth prospects, emphasising on leveraging technology and sustainable practices.

Q) The Middle East is an ever-changing region with technology leading at the forefront. How do you think technology will power the future of real estate? What are some innovations and technologies implemented by DAMAC in its current projects?

A) There are many technologies and innovations that have excited us recently. We are particularly interested in the potential of 3D printing, modular construction, and other sustainable energy solutions.

We are currently working on the efficient utilisation of solar energy and are keen on the use of solar glass panels. This is of particular interest of us as it has the potential to break free from the limitations of space as is the case of rooftop solar panels.

Considering the abundance of sunlight in our part of the world, this could be a potential disruptor in the renewable energy space.

While we have our eyes open to the latest advancements in technology, especially those relevant to construction, realty development and other corporate functions, we are conservative in our approach and chose to wait till a particular technology is tested and proven before adapting it into our business.

Q) DAMAC has been rapidly expanding its global footprint beyond the Middle East. How is the real estate market different in those countries compared to the UAE? What are some challenges the company expects to face while developing these new buildings?

A) First of all, UAE’s regulatory framework in relation to real estate development is world-class as it has adopted the best practices in the industry across the world. So, when we move on to developed jurisdictions like the USA and the UK, we do not come across any formidable difference, because we are already familiar with those standards and practices in the UAE.

However, we are mindful that every location has its own uniqueness, be it architecture, the local customs, the timelines by which the local regulatory system operates etc.

However, before stepping into a new market, we extensively assess these nuances and tap into our own extensive experience of developing billion-dollar projects in the UAE, and adapt our playbook to suit the market.

Q) Early this year, DAMAC announced its plans to accept cryptocurrency transactions for its property purchases. Where did this decision stem from? Can we expect the company to leverage the use of metaverse any time soon?

A) DAMAC, like any other multinational corporation, are bound by rules and regulations as defined by law in the jurisdiction. If any local regulator accepts the use of cryptocurrency, we will not allow ourselves to be left behind.

The metaverse, in my opinion, is an exciting opportunity for a realty development company like ours. However, we understand that this is still an emerging space and are still in the process of acquiring the knowledge.

However, I believe our eagerness to step into this space was amply demonstrated last year when DAMAC started offering our customers a “feel” of our realty offerings with the help of virtual reality and augmented reality technology.

Meanwhile, the Group, in furtherance of our ambitions in the metaverse, have constituted a new initiative named “D-Labs” under the able leadership of Ali Sajwani. The group is investing $100 million for this initiative.

Q) DAMAC Lagoons; the country’s first water-inspired neighborhood – in what ways is DAMAC ensuring a fully integrated community? In a fast-paced city where people are always on the go, how will DAMAC develop a space of tranquility through its design?

A) Damac Lagoons, like any of other master communities, is made with a targeted focus on the integration of the community.

Dubai is quite the melting pot of different nationalities and cultures with varying tastes, desires and demands. So we take special care to manage the expectations of our customers, and this is the keystone of the success of our master communities.

While we design our communities to meet these expectations, we also are careful to future proof our communities and try our best to build in provisions to allow integration of future technological advancements.

In our master communities, we bring in various amenities across the spectrum such as beaches, parks, gyms, horse riding clubs, petting zoos, club houses, golf courses, to suit all tastes to give our customers a tranquil space to unwind and enjoy after a hectic day and spend nice weekend with families and friends without having to leave community, making it easier for them to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Q) Considering DAMAC’s impressive portfolio, what are some of the key developments that we should look out for in the next few years?

A) This year we have launched many exciting projects, in particular, developments focused on the high-end and luxury segment of the business.

Cavalli Tower is the first residential development to be co-branded by Roberto Cavalli anywhere in the world and has views of Palm Jumeirah and Burj Al Arab. The architectural concept of Cavalli Tower was developed by Shaun Killa, the designer behind the Museum of the Future. This tower will include luxury, ultra-luxury and super-luxury residential units. The building will boast of a four-storey-high Cavalli-branded lobby, a beach pool in the gardens and other luxurious services such as 24-hour butler service, a la carte housekeeping service and much more.

On the other hand, Safa One is co-branded by De Grisogono. This is centrally located and has views of the Dubai Canal with the Burj Khalifa, the downtown area, Business Bay, City Walk and Box Park in close proximity. This will feature a rooftop tropical island, private pools. Following the Safa One’s successful launch, we have now launched Safa Two with exclusive features, such as a sapphire infinity pool, fog forest and much more.

Our latest launch is the Chic Tower, which is again co-branded with De Grisogono, is more youthful and vibrant. Located in Business Bay, the tower is designed with the well-being in mind and executed with uncompromising quality so as to provide a holistic lifestyle experience to its residents. This tower features opulent green terraces, infinity pool, personal gym and projection screens.

We expect these developments to be excellent additions to the spectacular and renowned Dubai skyline.

For those interested in the villas segment, we have launched many luxury Villas such as Gems Estates in Damac Hills. The Gems Estates is a unique collaboration between Damac, the fashion brand – Cavalli and the jewellers De Grisgono to develop iconic luxury villas with views of the 18 Holes Golf Course.